Love – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Ice heart

Heart of Ice? Found in the Maligne Ice Canyon in Jasper Canada

I have been fighting against the system my whole adult life. I have never bought a house/real estate, have never married, don’t have any kids, left my corporate career for something different, and don’t even have a home. I never know if I’m cursed or blessed with living a life outside the box. I was never trying to make a statement, I simply wasn’t interested in those typical things most people were.

For the greater part of my 30’s I had no time for relationships – I was having too much fun and didn’t feel like slowing down for anyone. Relationships were never a priority to me. However for the past few years I’ve noticed a slow change in some of my desires. I find myself fixating on other people’s relationships, watching couples hold hands, seeing how they share their lives, watching their closeness and I wonder if my mind isn’t changing when it comes to being in a relationship.

Yes my cynical side is always there on the other shoulder saying the grass is always greener. Reminding me that we tend to glorify romance and relationships when we aren’t in them and then once entrenched can tend to be unhappy and wish for our freedom back. Human beings are fickle – and seldom satisfied.

I’ve had a rough 2013 when it comes to men. Just when I think I know what I want – he’s not available. I tried for the greater part of 2013, but I was so low on his priority list that I felt like I was drowning most days. And I hate the feeling of not being able to get what I want. Mick Jagger is not my favorite singer – but he is right. I live my life where I take control – I do what I want. So when all of a sudden I can’t have it or figure out how to get it – it drives me batty. So batty that it chips away at my own self-confidence and ability.

One of my nieces recently went through a breakup. As I listened to her heartbreak I couldn’t help but think of my own situation – even though our lives are a generation and many many dating fiascos apart. She was so sad to have the boyfriend call it quits yet just the night before we were talking about how she was upset that he didn’t communicate with her enough. I enquired about what communication looked like to her and she said that he didn’t text her enough. I asked how often he texted – she replied “5 times a day.” I choked back a laugh! I couldn’t help but think that any adult would be quite satisfied with 5 texts a day from a significant other! But teenagers – they are a different breed. I marveled at how similar our situations were – she knew that he wasn’t right for her and couldn’t give her what she wanted – yet she was still devastated that it was over. We tried to mend out broken hearts together and I had a lingering sadness for her knowing how many times in her life she was going to have to go through this same situation until she came across Mr. Right.

My niece picks up the pieces and moves on for the first time and I do it for zillionth time. Yet my challenge continues as I’m not really sure how to move on and get any closer to what I want. I feel like my love life is the ultimate riddle. How do you meet a significant other when you are constantly moving never in one place? And before you tell me I need to stop moving – the answer is not as simple as slow down and stand still unfortunately. I tried that for years when I had a traditional life and that didn’t seem to work. Ok – in reality maybe I didn’t try to hard then. Back when I was standing still I never really wanted to seriously meet someone for a life partner and I certainly wasn’t looking to ever get married – not sure that I am ever really looking for that.

Mick Jagger you are right – there’s no getting what I want and no answers. And here’s Valentine’s Day showing up with it’s pretty red heart, roses, and signs of love. Ugh.

All year throughout my travels I take pictures of hearts or love that I come across around the world.  Here’s my collection from last year.

heart of stone

A heart of stone found along the Lycian Way in Turkey

Teufelsberg  heart

Look closely to find the heart at the old abandoned spy station, Teufelsberg, in Berlin Germany

All you need is Love

Found in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

RIP heart stockholm

RIP Heart found at Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm

metal heart

Metal heart in Old Quarter Hanoi Vietnam

Skeleton heart

Skeleton Heart found in New Orleans

peppermint heart

Peppermint heart in Chicago

plant heart

Green hearts in Turkey

Berlin Wall kiss

A little love at the Berlin Wall


Your Comments

22 Comments so far

  1. Belinda says:

    Wow, I am so feeling this. I am in the middle of a three month solo trip and everytime I see couples travelling together, I realize that is what I want. You are right, the grass seems greener but maybe its worth a try

  2. Jen says:

    Brilliant post – and I must agree staying in one place doesn’t guarantee you’ll meet anyone. I keep telling myself when the timing is right it will happen.

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog and it’s giving me lots to think about. I dream almost daily of selling up, leaving the job that frustrates me and carving out a new life – hoping at some point the dots will connect.

  3. Nora says:

    Oh boy oh boy. I am – as of today (of all days) officially the casualty of three failed major relationships since I started traveling full-time in 2007.
    Each ended for a variety of reasons, from incompatibility, to infidelity, to…I’m not sure about this last one, which was a complete mess from top to bottom. (You speak of texting; we were separated for a while and communicating via text with some vague hope that things might work out, before he dumped me via instant message….classy, I know!).

    And yes – the grass is always greener. When I’m in a relationship and things aren’t going well (and sometimes even if things ARE going well), I wish I were solo on the road. And when I’m solo, I too, look enviously on people holding hands and being in love and sharing the joy of travel together.

    I love being in love, but as we all know, it’s not always a bowl of cherries. Still waiting for my perfect prince….

    But last year after a serious accident that made me realize life is precious, I rediscovered my friends and family. I realized I have a contextual base for my life and a support structure that I had lost sight of in light of my full-time travels. But it doesn’t need to be that way. From periodic visits, to the glory of staying in touch via technology, I am loved, and I love back. It may not be a romantic love – nor is a replacement thereof – but in some ways, it’s even more important than any romance I could have.

  4. Nadine says:

    Thank you for this post and for being so open and honest on a topic that can be difficult to talk about. 2013 was indeed a hard year when it comes to men- I experienced such an amazing love (friends for over a decade/fall head over heels in love/soulmate type stuff) and then had it crash down around me. Still reeling from it.

    I came across your blog during my “Camino research” (I’ll be walking the Camino this summer, first time!) and your words and photos are beautiful and inspirational. Thank you.

    Here’s to love- in any and every form it may take!

  5. I really enjoyed your post and the pictures are amazing! Thank you for sharing this!

  6. JoAnna says:

    I wouldn’t trade my marriage for all the travels in the world. I’m glad we get to travel together sometimes because I like to share my experiences with my husband, but at the end of the day, he’ll be the one steadfast by my side, not my blog, not my photos, not my fading memories. I think love is important. If it’s what you want, I absolutely think you should go looking for it.

  7. Kadri says:

    Nice photos, I especially like the last one – “A little love at the Berlin Wall”.
    If you wanna see love, then you definitely will see it. :)

  8. valerie hene says:

    Dear sherry

    I loved your post and honesty …when we woke up in the Gobi desert among the nomadic families, I felt there was so much pure love between every family member that I was overwhelmed emotionally.
    I do travel, not as much as you …(understatement) and still for far too long it seems I’ve done so solo, as well, but as someone else wrote, there can only be companionship (to me) in a relationship as no one can fill or feel the void for we are alone to take decisions and feel the reasons behind every heartbeat.
    I stumbled upon the many crutches that I thought would help alleviate the pain, the loneliness, the vulnerability..but at the end of the day, i feel very much alive alone,strong, weak at times for having to act so strong ..but convinced at the end, one day there will be just a nice bench to share with someone and sit comfortably with. And this is what i wish you will come across this year, until then, really, the grass is not that green in the city of stillness. Hugs and happy belated birthday.

    • Sherry says:

      Valerie – thanks so much for these wonderful thoughts, memories, and images you paint in my mind of the future. I am in love with this statement, “I feel….weak at times for having to act so strong…” I couldn’t agree more. And occasionally I like to blog about my weakness – I feel it keeps this website real. Hope our paths cross again soon my friend!

      • Katy says:

        Dear Sherry, enjoyed reading your post. I am going on the Camino and found it doing my research. Then got to reading the rest of your post.

        Just wanted to put my two cents about relationships. Sounds like you’ve had many disappointments, could it be your choice of people? This was true for me. A change in perspective might be in order. Instead of going for the fireworks of romance, go for someone who shares your interest or at least thinks you are a goddess because of it (what an amazing photographer you are) accepts you for who you are (ie you feel comfortable to relax and be yourself with them, and still have fun) and gives you the freedom you need. Trust me those people are out there (i have one in my life) You may already know that person 😉 Best wishes to you and thank you for your website.

        • Sherry says:

          Katy – thanks for your comments. I feel like I’m searching for a needle in a haystack! I guess what makes it challenging is that I’m always moving around too! But what you say is right on. thanks. Good luck with the camino – I hope you love it as much as I did! Despite the blisters!

  9. I have learned that staying in one place isn’t the answer either.

  10. Rhonda says:

    A very honest post. It is always interesting to see life from different perspectives. I am extraordinarily blessed to have met my soul mate, the love of my life at the age of 20. Now, 26 years later, we’re still going strong, however I do realize not everyone is lucky enough to not only get along, but be with someone following the same path in life in regards to travel, etc. Good luck on your search. Keep an open heart, and the right man will find his way in.

  11. Ian says:

    I’ve been focusing more on relationships too, ever since I started traveling a lot … I suck at them, and need to get better! :/

  12. Miguel says:

    As far as I can tell, it’s work, and great sacrifice, and being tied down. If there’s someone you’re willing to take that chance with then it could be worth it. However I don’t believe a person who has done this will not stare out the window thinking what else could have been. I say just keep on trucking until you know YOU ARE DONE, then you can settle down with one… until then maybe just pay attention to beautiful people and be married to the world. If the time is to never come, then I would just have the love of your life as opposed to a spouse… kind of like someone you’re married to by nature than by tradition or rules. If I haven’t stated the obvious, maybe this can work as encouragement. I’ve working on long term escape, I just ran into the blog recently and identify with it so I thought I’d try to throw something back.
    Bon Voyage

  13. Kat says:

    ‘I feel like my love life is the ultimate riddle.’

    So stoked I found your site.

    2013 I was feeling so good about myself; I met a fantastic man who I thought was a real possibility … but it wasn’t to be and 2014 has proved to be a very tough year picking up the pieces.

    Next year I turn 40 and I plan on taking off on a grand solo adventure for at least a year. Women like you are an inspiration. I continue to search out women like you because I know I’m not alone.

    Yes, the grass is always greener. Although I feel quite heartbroken, I’m glad I’m not in a stale marriage and am free to continue searching. Keep your chin up!

    Can’t wait to read all of your blog! :)

    • Sherry says:

      Yay! So excited for your grand adventure. I’m sure it will open up all kinds of possibilities for you! Thanks for following and let me know if I can be of any help!

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